THE Warriors camp is providing so many riveting twists and turns, it might as well be packaged into a reality television series. Fissures have become apparent in a team that is expected to have bonded well a week before they begin their Africa Cup of Nations campaign against Algeria in Franceville, Gabon.A deal was ironed out early yesterday morning with Zifa agreeing to pay a US$5 000 appearance fee for every group game and a winning bonus of US$6 000.
The agreement was reached after an embarrassing incident which saw the team boycotting a send off reception organised for them by the Ministry of Sport and Recreation on Friday night.
But no sooner had the ink dried on the agreement did reports emerge that coach Kallisto Pasuwa, skipper Willard Katsande and his deputy Cuthbert Malajila – who signed on behalf of the Warriors – were being accused of selling out.
Apart from the appearance fees and winning bonuses, Zifa and the Warriors representatives also agreed on how they will share the US$475 000 qualification bonus that the Confederation of African Football dishes out to the 16 finalists.
“Qualification bonus: 60 percent Zifa and 40 percent team. Appearance and winning bonuses will be escalated at US$2 000 per game. Appearance fees (for) group stage to the players’ accounts/technical accounts on or before the 12th of January 2017,” reads part of the agreement.
But the agreement, a product of an early morning indaba convened at Zifa president Philip Chiyangwa’s offices in Harare, apparently found little takers among the bulk of the Warriors.
Most of the players insist that they will only depart for Gabon when they have received some cash to leave with their families.“What we want is money and not promises. This funny agreement which says money will be transferred into our accounts is a joke; these guys are not good at keeping promises,” said a senior player.“What has happened between yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) makes some of us lose trust in the people who represent us. We will only leave when we get some money first. If that doesn’t happen, we will strike again.”
Initially, the team was expected to depart early yesterday morning for Cameroon where they are scheduled to play the Indomitable Lions in an international friendly on Tuesday before making the trip to Gabon.
However, that journey was put on ice after the standoff over allowances.
After the evening made in hell, which also saw the players accusing the Zifa board of being thieves and the members of the soccer governing body’s board slapping a mercenary tag on the team, the two parties appeared to have kissed and made up.
It emerged that the Sports and Recreations Commission came down hard on Chiyangwa after Friday’s debacle, forcing the Zifa president to convene an early morning meeting that produced the contentious agreement.
Chiyangwa was summoned to the the Sport and Recreation Ministry’s offices where sources said the SRC board grilled him.
“He was also warned that the days of behaving like a law unto himself were over,” said an SRC member.
After receiving the hairdryer treatment, Chiyangwa oversaw the drafting a statement which saw Zifa apologising to Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the nation for Friday’s debacle.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association apologises to all football stakeholders in Zimbabwe and particularly to the Acting President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Minister of Sports and Recreation, Honourable Makhosini Hlongwane, the Sports and Recreation Commission and our valued sponsors for the failure by the Zimbabwe senior men’s team to attend the scheduled send-off ceremony at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare and the team’s consequent failure to travel to Cameroon for an international friendly match,” reads part of the statement.
In the statement Zifa also made some subtle threats.
“A full investigation is underway, and should any element of sabotage be detected; action will be taken to ensure that those involved will face the full wrath of the association. Zifa will further take action to ensure that Zimbabwe is indeed represented at the Afcon finals,” said the association.
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